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UI Cambus strikes a 66-year-old pedestrian

BY REBECCA MORIN | MAY 07, 2013 5:00 AM

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University of Iowa officials say that while Monday’s Cambus incident was the second in the last two years, officials have trained student drivers recently with a greater emphasis on pedestrian awareness.

A Cambus struck a 66-year-old pedestrian on Monday morning as he crossed Clinton Street at approximately 8:13 a.m.

According to an Iowa City press release, the Cambus was turning onto Clinton Street from Jefferson Street when the bus struck the man. The Cambus driver, Audrey Kelly, 20, failed to yield to a pedestrian in the crosswalk and was cited by Iowa City police.

The pedestrian was transported by an ambulance to the UI Hospitals and Clinics, and he sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

Kelly declined to give a statement as of Monday evening.

Although there had not been much change in the training, Cambus Director Brian McClatchey said officials have emphasized pedestrian safety when training Cambus drivers.

“Pedestrians have been a focus area, and we are always looking for ways to increase our general safety practices,” he said. “Any time we have a significant accident, we look at the circumstance and then look at the program to see what we need to improve.”

Charles Green, the assistant vice president for the UI police, said the UI police were the first to respond to the accident. However, because the incident occurred on a city street, Iowa City police investigated the incident.

Walking to an 8:30 a.m. class in Phillips Hall, UI freshman Kenzie Krueger was surprised when she noticed the congestion of police cars alongside a Cambus clogging the street around 8:20 a.m. She said her initial reaction was the bus had been pulled over because it had broken down.

“I saw the [police] lights far away, but I didn’t think anything of it, because it happens often,” she said. “I kept walking closer, and there was a police car blocking one lane of traffic, and the Cambus was pulled to the side. The cars that were going the opposite direction were just gawking, watching while it was happening. It was weird, because I’ve never seen a Cambus get pulled over before, so I was curious. It’s almost the end of the year, and accidents do happen, but that’s an accident that shouldn’t happen.”

A Cambus has struck two people in the last two years. The last incident occurred in September 2011, when UI student Rebecca Segriff was struck as she crossed the intersection of Madison and Washington Streets.  Segriff is suing the UI, the state of Iowa, and the Cambus operator.

Regardless of the accident, McClatchey said there had not been a large change in Cambus training within the last few years.

“There has not been a particularly large change, just a larger emphasis and more focus on certain issues,” he said.

University of Northern Iowa’s student President Tom Madsen said that the university partners with the public bus transportation system and are trained by them.

“They go through training, and I know they are trained like any other public bus system,” he said. “They know pedestrians have the right away.”

UNI has not had an accident occur in which a bus hit a student, Madsen said.

Kelly’s status as a Cambus driver is under investigation by the department.

“We are investigating very closely at what took place and what the driver’s involvement was,” McClatchey said. “We will see how the driver was performing, and from there, we will see if she needs anything, from more coaching to retraining.”

DI Reporter Quentin Misiag contributed to this story.


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